Now that I'm coming up on 3 weeks post-Revolution3 Cedar Point Full 140.6, the recovery is going pretty well. I can kind of run again, but the parts that aren't stiff are still falling apart. During an Ironman, all of the joints in the body sort of expand and inflame, so you literally start falling apart. It takes about a month for everything to really come back together. My first run I could still feel that my hips were totally blown open, ankles were loose as a goose, and every muscle was still stiff. That was almost 2 weeks after the race. Last night I ran 5 miles easy, and there is still some inflammation in my arms/hands that gets uncomfortable. And I can tell my immune system is still very depleted as well. So recovery is going pretty good! Doesn't that sound awful?
So why exactly am I walking away from something that has been a goal, a dream, for the last 4 years? Well, that's a complex answer.
- Long recovery periods aside, I will be turning 40 next year. And I don't know how I'm going to feel, everybody says the after-40 athlete is completely different from what I feel now. Ironman training takes a huge toll, and I don't want to put my body and my family through it again. Maybe after I give it a year or two then my feelings will change, but who knows.
- Cycling sucks. I don't care if I ever ride 112 miles again. This year I really wasn't motivated to put in the long training time on the bike. I rode about 1000 miles less in training this year than I did last year, and the race day difference only turned out to be 6 minutes slower. But since I wasn't conditioned, I also was done and ready to get off of the bike by about mile 65. So when the last 52 miles of a bike ride really suck....
- I keep slowing down. My first ironman is still my PR. Last year's swim at B2B was faster than my IMFL swim, but other than that every sport has gotten slower every time. At Rev3 I had a personal worst time in every sport and my worst time overall - I trained for a sub-4 hour run split and turned in my slowest marathon since my very first one in 2009! Even my training runs this year were all considerably slower than the steady 8 minute pace I put up last year. If I was seeing improvements in any aspect of any sport I might have a reason to continue. But every race gets slower and more painful, not to mention harder to recover from.
- I can run more! Back in the spring I volunteered and ran 31 miles at the Umstead 100 ultramarathon, and it really made me want to get back into trail ultra's. I have to chase this slowly, and it deserves a post of its own. But I am looking forward to logging some high mileage months in the future. Starting with the New River 50k coming up October 11!
- I can swim more! Open water swim racing got to be really fun this year, with the Lake Erie exception. I absolutely loved the weeks where I got to practice 4 times with the RAM team. Doing lots and lots of swimming only makes me want to swim a lot more. Again, biking gets in the way. My teammate Dani finished the 12 mile open water Swim Around Charleston in 5:06 this past weekend, so I've kind of got my eyes on that for next year with another teammate. But that's another post for another day.
- Next year we'll have to see how it all plays out. I bet I will still do some triathlons, maybe (probably) a half iron. And maybe even some charity rides when the weather is nice in the fall, or spring. But I can reliably assure you I will not be training for a century ride.
Specifically, statistics show that most people who love doing Ironmans tap out after only 3. I've done 3 ironmans in the last 4 years, and it has been very rewarding and incredibly fulfilling. Knowing the statistic, I really wanted to do at least 4 ironmans total. But swimming and running are so swipe right these days, and biking is just so scary, I can't see doing a 4th ironman anytime soon. I'm not going to completely rule it out in case I suddenly start loving the bike again, but mentally a lot of things will have to change for me before I ever agree to do another one.
For now, I added the last link onto the Iron Leg this past weekend. I got the Rev3 logo with a roller coaster car from a finishers visor added below the Battleship from last year. I'm actually a bit disappointing with how it turned out, which is completely inline with my performance in the race itself. The coaster car is a pointing device, and those should be pointing towards the front of the body. The R3 should be smaller and to the left. As it turned out, this one is actually wider than the battleship when they should be the same width, and they kind of created a V with some open space. I might fill in the open space with a Ferris wheel like the race medal, or maybe put the 140.6 in block letters. so the effect is there and the art is good, but the composition needs to be salvaged.
|The entire Iron Leg|
|The roller coaster car|
|Big, bloody, blue R3|
Ironman has been a very worthy and fulfilling journey, but it is a journey that has now come to a close. Now we'll have to figure out what kind of fun adventures I'm going to tackle next!